The Superior Court was established by Article IV of the NMI Constitution as a trial court and has original jurisdiction over civil, criminal, and other specialized matters like probate, juvenile cases, administrative appeals, and traffic violations. The court is comprised of five judges who are appointed by the Governor, confirmed by the Senate, and serve six-year terms. Depending upon the type of matter before the court, either a judge or a jury decides cases.
The Judiciary does not have an intermediate appellate level, so parties may appeal Superior Court decisions directly to the Supreme Court. Trials are usually held at the Guma’ Hustisia on Saipan, but the court also conducts proceedings at the Kotten Tinian and the Centron Hustisia. In addition to presiding over legal matters, the Court also oversees the Superior Court Clerk of Court’s Office, the Family Court Division, Drug Court, the Office of Adult Probation, and the Commonwealth Recorder’s Office.
The court is committed to provide accessible justice to all. It ensures that indigent criminal defendants have attorneys, litigants have the transcripts necessary for an appeal to the Supreme Court, litigants with limited English proficiency have interpreters, and parties in family disputes have guidance for court proceedings. Sufficient funds will help ensure each individual has access to the court services they deserve.